Good news for writers: If you’re into the whole content marketing thing and have some expertise on a few topics, there’s a new website that aims to help you find high-paying work with hundreds of companies.
It’s called nDash, and it’s one of the 128 startups competing in this year’s MassChallege startup accelerator from Boston. The startup was founded by Michael Brown, who previously served as a content marketing manager for over four years at uTest, the well-funded Framingham-based startup that is now known as Applause.
The way Brown describes it, it’s basically a “marketplace of ideas.” On the platform, freelance writers proactively pitch content ideas and companies can pay for them to write articles as part of their content marketing efforts. Agencies can also use nDash to find writers to work with their clients if they’re looking for someone with a specific subject matter expertise. In a way, it’s kind of like Catalant, the Boston-based consultant marketplace, except it’s focused squarely on providing writers for hire.
After launching at HubSpot’s Inbound conference last fall, there are now over 2,500 writers and more than 500 companies using the service, including Carbonite, DataDog, AppNeta and Mautic. Brown said the site has been growing 38-40 percent every month.
Now here’s the real good news for writers: According to Brown, the average price per assignment for writers is $185, which is a far cry from the low pay offered by so-called “content mills.” To make money, nDash takes a small fee from the client side for every transaction. The site also offers a subscription service at $40 or $100 a month with smaller fees based on a company’s content needs.
“The big worry when you launch something like this is it turns into a race to the bottom content mill,” Brown said. But with companies paying a high average price per assignment, the founder and CEO said that hasn’t been the case, showing the companies are willing to pay more for high-quality content as a way to differentiate themselves against competitors.
One of the reasons why nDash has been able to attract so many writers and companies in such a short time is that Brown previously ran the startup as his own content marketing agency. After leaving uTest as a content marketing manager, Brown built the agency not by pitching his subject matter expertise and experience but by pitching specific content ideas to brands.
“These companies have come to realize content creation is not a one-person job or even a one-department job.”
Brown said a lot has changed since he first started as content market manager in 2008. At the time, many companies didn’t have their own dedicated content marketing division. Now many do, even if it’s one or two people. What Brown is banking on for nDash is the idea that companies should include a variety of voices and turn their operation into a publication.
“These companies have come to realize content creation is not a one-person job or even a one-department job,” Brown said.
NDash has been bootstrapped so far, Brown said, though he does plan to raise some capital from investors this year. He also plans to expand nDash beyond the realm of freelance writers and “expand the definition of the content community” by adding other types of freelancers to the platform, like consultants and subject matter experts.